The Brazilian health ministry announced on Tuesday that the country’s drop in childhood malnutrition, coupled with other social progress initiatives, meet the criteria for eradication of extreme poverty under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Health Minister José Gomes Temporão pointed out that the proportion of underweight Brazilian children under 5 years fell to only 1.8 percent between 1989 and 2006. Together with substantial reductions in the number of people living on less than $1 per day, these are signs of having achieved the MDGs on the eradication of extreme poverty ahead of the 2015 deadline.
Minister Temporão also noted that the country is on target to achieve reductions in child mortality rates, another Millennium Development Goal, by 2012 if the country “stay’s its present course.” With infant mortality rates dropping by 58 percent between 1990 and 2008, equivalent to 22.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, the Minister expects the number to drop to 17.8 deaths per 1,000 live births within three years meeting the UN’s Millennium Development Goal.
Other notable achievements, according to Brazil’s health ministry, include reductions in maternal mortality rates of 56 percent over the last 18 years as well as a 75 percent drop in infant mortality rates (infants in their first year of life) to only 6 deaths per 1,000 live births.